Program Coordinator Shelle Ridings
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.
Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022 nationwide, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. An aging population will need more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies. Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, could lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians provide the following:
- Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
- Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
- Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
- Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis
- Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
- Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security
Written and oral communication, knowledge of human biology, medical terminology, medical coding, medical billing, medical ethics and knowledge of laws relating to healthcare privacy are important for successful job placement.
Course work includes instruction in medical terminology, health insurance, electronic health records, health information, medical transcription and documents, human disease pathophysiology, medical staff credentialing, computer operations, and ethical/legal issues associated with medical records.
Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Others work in nursing care facilities or for government entities. Technicians typically work at desks or in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. The industries that employed the most health information technicians are general medical and surgical hospitals; state, local, and private offices of physicians, nursing and residential care facilities, and for the Government.
The curriculum for both the AAS and CP programs includes HIMC 250 which provides review and preparation for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), which is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) credentialing exam. Due to the level of expertise required of medical coders, AAPC expects certified coders to be able to perform not only in an exam setting but also in the real world. In addition to passing the certification exam, coders will also be required to demonstrate on-the-job coding experience. Those who pass the CPC®, exams but have not yet met this requirement will be designated as an Apprentice (CPC-A) on their certificate.
Health Information and Medical Coding Program Entry Requirements
The Health Information and Medical Coding program is an open admission program that has limited enrollment. Individuals interested in the program are encouraged to contact the program coordinator about registration dates, any course prerequisites, and other academic concerns or questions.
Students are required to complete:
- Drug screen
- Federal background check
- Completion of CPR course for Health Care Providers
- Satisfactory health exam with appropriate immunizations (any expenses associated with these or any internship-site immunizations are the responsibility of the student).
Technical Standards: All students must be able to fulfill certain “technical standards.” These standards are the essential requirements of the Health Information and Medical Coding program that students must master to successfully participate in the program and become employable in the Health Information and Medical Coding field. Technical standards for the students in the Health Information and Medical Coding program:
- All students must possess the manual dexterity, physical stamina, and visual capacity to perform all required technical procedures.
- Students must be able to communicate in an effectual manner. Students will be required to read and comprehend technical material, as well as write technical reports in a clear and concise manner. In addition, all students must be able to verbally communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, and other health care personnel.
Each applicant needs to assess his/her own ability to meet the above technical standards.
Program prerequisite for Health Information and Medical Coding AAS and certificate of proficiency programs: Qualify for READ 125 and ENGL 125 with appropriate L&C placement test scores.
To be eligible for graduation with the Medical Coding Certificate of Proficiency and Health Information and Medical Coding Associate in Applied Science Degree, students must:
- Earn a grade of “C” or better in all Office Technology and Health Information and Medical Coding courses, defined as courses with an OTEC prefix and HIMC prefix, and
- Satisfy the requirements for a Certificate of Proficiency and Associate in Applied Science Degree as outlined in this catalog.
OTEC and HIMC classes taken longer than five years prior to graduation must be retaken or a proficiency test passed to insure that the student has retained his/her knowledge from the class.
PROFICIENCY TEST INFORMATION: BUSINESS DOCUMENTS I (OTEC 120) and INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SKILLS (OTEC 151). Students wanting to take a proficiency test for OTEC 120 and/or OTEC 151 may do so by contacting the Office Technology Program Coordinator.
Suggested high school courses for students interested in pursuing Health Information and Medical Coding at L&C:
- OTEC 120 - Business Documents I
- OTEC 151 - Introduction to Computer Skills
- BIOL 130 or high school biology is a prerequisite for BIOL 132 (Human Biology).
- ENGL 131 - First Year English
- SPCH 145 (required for degree)
Health Information & Medical Coding - HIMC.AAS
Associate in Applied Science Degree
Total: 12-13 Credit Hours
Total credit hours required for the A.A.S. in Health Information & Medical Coding: 60
Medical Coding - HIMC.CP
Certificate of Proficiency
Total credit hours required for the Certificate of Proficiency in Medical Coding: 36